Top 10 Must See: UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are currently over 1000 listed world heritage across the globe. We’ve managed to pick our favourite 10 that we believe everyone should visit at least once in their lives. Filled with biodiversity and culture, all of these heritage sites make for a great adventure.
Ha Long Bay
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, Ha Long Bay is a scenic beauty in Northern Vietnam, dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets that are mostly untouched by humans. Our favourite way to discover Ha Long Bay is by boat – cruises are available at most hotels and travel agencies in Vietnam. This spectacular geographic formation is not one to be missed!
The mountain chain of the Western Ghats are recognised as a geomorphic feature of global importance due to its high level of biodiversity and edemism. You can experience the magnificent beauty of the Western Ghats in many ways while travelling through Kerala (the highest peak). Camp at the Eastern Slope, cycle around Munnar, visit tiger reserves and the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley
A renowned cultural centre of medieval Armenia, the monastery of Geghard is a great place for history lovers. Here you will find exceptionally well-preserved rock-cut churches and tombs, set into a landscape of natural beauty at the entrance of the Azat Valley. There are great walking routes to be done here that offer beautiful views of the Khosrov National Reserve and dramatic scenery if you climb high enough.
In the 7th century, Mahabalipuram was a port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas and is believed to have been named after the Pallava King Mamalla. The site has 400 historic monuments built largely between the 7th and 9th centuries. It is especially known for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapa (cave sanctuaries) and one of the largest open-air rock reliefs – The Decent of the Ganges. Situated in the coastal resort town of Mamallapuram, it is definitely worth a stop on your adventure to Southern India.
The Rila Monastery is considered the most historical of Bulgaria’s monasteries. Founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, the monument symbolises the awareness of Slavic cultural identity. You can get to the Rila Monastery but hiking alongside the 7 Rila Lakes.
Chitwan National Park
A natural world heritage site, Chitwan National Park was Nepal’s first National Park. It is home to rich flora, fauna and one of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic Rhinoceros. The park is of exceptional natural beauty, having the Himalayas act as a backdrop and characterised by steep forested hills and changing river landscape. It is a great site for nature lovers to adventure through.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1998, Simharaja is the most well known rain forest in Sri Lanka. It is home to over 50% of the country’s endemic wildlife. A guided walk is the perfect activity for adventures seeking a spot of rare wildlife.
Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin
Another beautiful site in Armenia developed from the 10th to the 13th century. The two monasteries are unique examples of the blend between the Byzantine church architecture and traditional vernacular building styles of this region. There is much history to be found here but one can only truly appreciate it by seeing the monuments themselves.
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka
An incredible natural world heritage site. The central highlands comprise of the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These montane rain-forests reach 2,500m above sea level and harbours an extraordinary range of flora and fauna. A region that is considered a super biodiversity hotspot is a must see.
Khangchendzonga National Park
Situated at the heart of Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Sikkim, Khangchendzonga National Park is considered a cultural and natural world heritage site. The site is formed from a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests. This includes the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga. Sacred meanings of the mythological stories, associated with this mountain, have been integrated with Buddhism and forms the basis for Sikkimese identity.
Which ones will you be adding to your list?